Searching for the democratic ideal: A theoretical study of the history, spirituality, and ethics of the United States educational system

Sandra Josephine Calvi, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examines the current purpose of education through a design that employs methods of historical inquiry and theoretical analysis. Within the context of this design, the study intends a critical analysis of democratic ideals and views of ethical and spiritual development in the United States' public schools. If a point of nexus does exist, then what may also exist is a call for a return to moral and spiritual considerations in the public schools. This return may correspond to recognition of the democratic responsibility to instill belief in children that the purpose of education is to cultivate the common good. In consideration of this, the study seeks to establish the relationship between democracy, spirituality and ethics. ^ Drawing upon a wide variety of theoretical resources and traditions, the research is structured into four thematic chapters. Each chapter addresses the evolving nature of education. The first three chapters end with an analysis of connections and contradictions based on an examination of the literature related to current culture and the knowledge imparted through the educational system. The fourth chapter provides an understanding of the changing role of education in a global society and offers an evaluation of the democratic ideal in such a society. The chapter ends with a framework for spiritual leadership and public education. ^ Through an extensive review of literature, this theoretical analysis seeks an understanding of the spiritual, ethical, and democratic ideals that shaped the purpose of schools. Ultimately, this study seeks to offer new possibilities for the direction of public schooling and for the examination of political and moral responsibilities through a reflection and analysis of schooling as part of a wider political and cultural realm. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Sandra Josephine Calvi, "Searching for the democratic ideal: A theoretical study of the history, spirituality, and ethics of the United States educational system" (January 1, 2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3265579.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3265579

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